Bioproduction of microbial oils and lubricants from carbon dioxide

(M.Sc. Ayşe Koruyucu)

Marine microalgae allow the efficient fixation of carbon dioxide using sunlight when cultivated in large-scale open photobioreactors in suitable climate zones. To achieve high productivities in the production of microbial oils from carbon dioxide, biomass obtained from fast-growing microalgae will be converted into microbial lipids using oleaginous yeast species.

The aim of this research project is the model-based design of an integrated process for the efficient CO2 fixation using microalgae in open thin-layer cascade photobioreactors on a pilot scale (50 m2) coupled with the microbial oil production in a membrane bioreactor after the hydrolysis of the algal biomass. To further increase the added value in the process, the extracted yeast oil will be enzymatically refined to a lubricant additive. For this purpose, scalable processes will be established for the production of the biocatalyst by high cell density cultivation of Escherichia coli and for the enzymatic synthesis of the lubricant additive from microbial fatty acids on a pilot scale.

This research project will be carried out at the Institute of Biochemical Engineering, at the TUM AlgaeTec Center at the Ludwig-Bölkow-Campus in Ottobrunn and at the TUM Pilot Plant for Industrial Biotechnology in close cooperation with various partners.


  • Koruyucu A, Blums K, Peest T, Schmack-Rauscher L, Brück T, Weuster-Botz D (2023): High-cell-density yeast oil production with diluted substrates imitating microalgae hydrolysate using a membrane bioreactor. Energies 16: 1757.